AOC ties Joe Manchin to dark money: 'Corporate money has a very tight grip on both parties'
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Photo: Ståle Grut / NRKbeta.)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is raising questions about the real motive behind Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) reasons for supporting the filibuster while blocking legislative efforts to expand voting rights.

On Tuesday, June 18, the New York lawmaker appeared on MSNBC with host Chris Hayes where she said it is difficult to believe Manchin's reasons are as straightforward as he claims they are, reports Truthout. Over the weekend, Manchin claimed he opposes the For the People Act because it is predominantly supported by only Democrats. Since Republicans oppose the voting rights legislation, Manchin argues that it is not a bipartisan effort.

Despite his claims, Ocasio-Cortez is not having it.

"H.R.1 stands up against lobbyists and dark money. I would reckon to think that this is probably just as much a part of Joe Manchin's calculus as anything else," Ocasio-Cortez told MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Tuesday. "Because when it comes to this bipartisan argument, I gotta tell you, I don't buy it. Because Joe Manchin has voted for bills that have not been bipartisan before — look at the American Rescue Plan."

The Democrat believes Manchin may be intertwined in a dark money scheme that could involve the Koch network. "You look at the Koch brothers and you look at organizations like the Heritage Foundation and conservative lobby groups that are doing a victory lap. Claiming victory over the fact that Manchin refuses to change on the filibuster," she said. "I think these two things are very closely intertwined."

On Tuesday, CNBC released a report highlighting Koch-affiliated groups for their praise of Manchin's support of Republican lawmakers' priorities like the filibuster, and their opposition toward voting rights expansion and climate change legislation.

While it remains unclear whether or not there are ties between Manchin and the groups, there is speculation that the West Virginia lawmaker may be motivated by dark money being funneled to him by the groups. "Protecting our democracy is also about making sure we give lobbyists and dark money groups, which are funding these attacks on the right to vote, the boot," Ocasio-Cortez said.

She later added, "Corporate money has a very, very tight grip on both parties. And I think that has to do with the calculus in this situation that people aren't really discussing enough."